Scotland ends cheap booze as minimum price starts

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Scotland's government has set up a bottom limit for pricing alcohol content.

We agree with the Scottish Government that there needs to be an objective, independent and robust assessment of the impact of minimum unit pricing.

"Minimum Unit Pricing is created to target strong, cheap alcohol, which is linked to harmful drinking".

The legislation has been criticised by small government campaigners who say that it will only serve as a levy on the poor and will not in itself solve Scotland's alcoholism problems.

It means a standard 750ml 13% bottle of wine can not be sold for less than £4.88, a 700ml 40% bottle of whisky for £14 and two litres of 5% cider for £5.

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In the same year there were 30.9 male deaths related to alcohol for every 100,000 men in Scotland.

The law, which sets a floor price for drinks depending on how many units of alcohol they contain, was passed in 2012 but has faced legal challenges.

Having achieved a unanimous ruling in the Supreme Court, the Scottish government agreed in February this year that the minimum price on a unit of alcohol would be 50 pence. Nearly a fifth more alcohol is sold per adult in Scotland than in England and Wales, and statistics show more than 40% of prisoners were drunk at the time of their offence.

Noting that Northern Ireland and Wales are planning to introduce similar legislation, Ms. Sturgeon added: "I think we will see countries across Europe and further afield look to replicate what has been done here in Scotland".

The SWA, on the other hand, argued that MUP was illegal under European Union law and that it amounted to a "trade barrier" which "is a real concern for our industry".

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) believes it will not tackle alcohol misuse effectively and says there is no evidence MUP is effective in reducing alcohol-related harm.

The policy is a world first, and is meant to address the harms to health caused by the sale and consumption of cheap, strong alcohol and reduce alcohol-related crime.

You can work out how many units there are in any drink by multiplying the total volume of a drink (in ml) by its ABV (Alcohol by volume - measured as a percentage) and dividing the result by 1,000. In addition, existing laws on under-age sales and sales to drunk people are not fully and effectively applied at the moment, it argues.

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